Updated Jan 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Josh Hawley introducing his own stock ban bill

Photo illustration of Josh Hawley wearing a tie with Benjamin Franklin on it

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) plans to introduce his own bill to prevent members of Congress from trading stocks, while Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) teams up with fellow Democrat Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Axios has learned.

Why it matters: This means there will be now be two similar bills to ban stock trades individually championed by two vastly different lawmakers—further complicating the effort to pass a stock trading ban this session.

Between the lines: This comes after talks between Ossoff and Hawley's offices fizzled out, and Ossoff had sought a Republican co-sponsor before partnering with Kelly.

Both bills would prevent sitting lawmakers and their spouses from trading stock, but there are some differences between the two proposals:

  • Ossoff's bill also would apply the ban to any dependent children in addition to the spouses of lawmakers, whereas Hawley's bill would not.
  • Hawley's bill would have the Government Accountability Office provide oversight, whereas Ossoff would leave that to congressional ethics committees.
  • Any violations of Hawley's measure would require lawmakers or their spouses to disgorge any investment to the U.S. Treasury. Additional penalties also may be leveled by Congressional ethics committees.
  • A Democratic aide familiar confirmed to Axios that Ossoff's bill also includes penalties for violations.

“Year after year, politicians somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions in stocks of companies they’re supposed to be regulating," Hawley said in a statement to Axios. "It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to Washington profiteering.”

The bottom line: A stock trading ban already faced long odds, despite widespread public support, in part due to House opposition from Speaker Pelosi. Today's developments make those odds even longer.

Earlier: Momentum builds to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

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